The story behind the Korea-Japan military pact
News On Japan via chosun.com -- Jun 29
Korea and Japan are to sign their first military cooperation pact since the end of Japan's occupation of Korea in 1945. "If things go as planned, the two nations will sign the pact on Friday," Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae told reporters Thursday.
The pact allows Seoul and Tokyo to exchange classified military intelligence on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs as well as information about China's growing military power. Other pacts that have been mooted, on military logistics and equipment sharing, have been put on the back burner given entrenched public resentment of the former colonizers here.
Given the sensitivity of the pact, there were signs that the government tried to smuggle it past public notice. It was brought up and passed in the Cabinet on Wednesday without review at the lower ministerial level, and the government did not mention it in a press briefing immediately after the Cabinet meeting.
But government officials insist the need to share military intelligence is greater than ever in view of North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. Experts believe the real reason is pressure from Washington to forge a closer three-way alliance to keep China in check. "Washington had proposed joint military drills for Korea, the U.S. and Japan for years, and the information sharing agreement is something the U.S. had been asking for in the same context," a government source here said on condition of anonymity. The source added the plans have "strategic significance" vis-a-vis China's growing might.
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